Ideas, tips and reflections on the Montessori Method and Early Childhood Education.

Go Fish

Magnetic fishing rods have always been a staple in my classroom. They can be utilized in a variety of ways and the children naturally gravitate toward them. The cool thing about these fishing rods is that the magnet on one end can be used to pick metal objects while the nut on the other end can be used to pick up things like magnetic letters and numbers.

The rods help the children develop their hand-eye coordination and control of movement. Combined with items like matching cards or parts-of cards (with metal paper clips) they also build vocabulary. Add the paper clips to pattern cards and the fishing rods can be used for sorting and sequencing. Use the rod to pick up magnetic letters and/or numbers and the children can work on their literacy skills. There are SO many possibilities!




Strong string

Circular magnet

2 small nuts

1 leg cap (appropriate size that corresponds with the size of the magnet)


  1. Drill a small hole through one end of the dowling and another small hole on the solid end of the leg cap.
  2. Thread the string through the hole in dowling and tie one of the nuts to it (this will act as the knot to keep the string from sliding through).
  3. Thread the other end of the string through the leg cap and tie the second nut to it (this will act as the knot to keep the string from sliding through).
  4. Insert the magnet into the leg cap. The magnetic pull from the nut will keep it in place.

You may now go fishing! Easily manoeuvre from the magnetic to nut side by pulling the string in the appropriate direction.

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Nut & Bolt Wall

Although this activity was specifically designed for the practical life section of a Montessori Casa classroom, it may easily be introduced to any program and child.

In my play-based program I found that the children were easily captured by the activity. During times when we had been exploring the interest of tools and construction, this activity was always a popular staple.

The activity was created with the objective of strengthening and developing the children's pincer grasp and hand control; while also gaining the satisfaction of working to obtain a goal.

The “wall” is held together by nuts and bolts. When the nuts are twisted off the bolts and the bolts are pulled out, the wall is able to be taken apart into two separate pieces. When the bolts are placed through the matching holes on the two walls and the nuts fastened, the wall is put back together.

The first version of this activity has the same sized nuts, bolts and holes. The second version of the activity requires for the children to focus and strengthen their visual discrimination as there are varying sizes of holes, bolts and nuts.

This is a simple activity, but a welcomed gem for children wanting to explore tools and construction and meet their natural desires to refine and work on their skills. 

Nut&Bolt 1 Video

Nut&Bolt 2 Video

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Game of Three

In a Montessori classroom the three period lesson is used to introduce and master new items and words. In a non-Montessori classroom, I use the same concept but gave it the name, The Game of Three. 

This lesson/game has three phases. Each phase requires the child to interact and engage with the new items and verbalize the new words. Eventually the child gains mastery and proficiency with the new words and items.

The three phases can be easily broken down into the following:

Phase 1: teacher isolates, shows and tells

Phase 2: teacher tells and the the child shows

Phase 3: teacher isolates and shows and the child tells.

The best practice is not introducing too many item and words at once. Generally this lesson/game is best done with three or four items, with potentially at least one item already known by the child.

In phase 1 isolate by placing an individual item in front of the child and verbalize the item's name, “Hammer”. You may have the child repeat each word. Do this with each item.

The second phase will see all the items on the table. Mix the items and be prepared to move them around, while asking the child, “show me the hammer, show me the screwdriver, show me the level.” The child is to point to the corresponding item.

In the final phase you will isolate the item again, placing it in front of the child and this time ask, “what is this?” The child will then verbalize what the item is.

At times, depending on the child’s comprehension of the new item and word, it may be appropriate to move back to the previous phase to give them more opportunity to interact with the items and words. When such an occasion does arise, it is imperative to make it a natural part of the game and to not draw attention to having to go backward. As with most interactions with children, stay positive and gently redirect. 

It is important to be positive and engaging remembering that this activity is to provide opportunity to interact and be involved with the items and words rather than a rote memorization activity.

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